There is No There There

“Ever since Gertrude Stein wrote of Oakland, “there is no there there,” people have used this quote to condemn the city…”

I was born and grew up in Oakland.

So when someone tells me there is no there there.

I just tell them to drive to downtown Oakland and yell that out the window.

I sure somebody will tell you where to go.

Or a polite group of young men may help you locate it on your GPS.

One time for my birthday we had a clown.

He was filling this pie with lemon meringue for the pie fight.

Turns out that was just yellow cement.

And the first person he hit with that pie after it set

had to have reconstructive surgery done to his face and jaw.

I’ll never forget that birthday

Another time we got drenched to the bone by a bunch of kids

in a skirt gun and water balloon fight.

So for the rematch I put all my water balloons in the freezer over night.

A frozen water balloon is almost as an effective weapon

as hitting someone in the face with a brick.

We won the rematch.

More recently we stopped to get gas and a flavored ice tea in Berkeley.

My girl looked out the window in the direction of Oakland and commented.

“There is no there there.”

Some hippy behind the counter thought she was asking for directions.

Nobody makes that mistake when I’m talking.

Because I’m from Oakland

And I’m a man.

And I don’t ask for directions


Boyhood home in Oakland Hills…






3 responses to “There is No There There

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